Now that it is generally accepted that asthma is a heterogeneous condition, phenotyping of asthma patients has become a mandatory part of the diagnostic workup of all patients who do not respond satisfactorily to standard therapy with inhaled corticosteroids. Late-onset eosinophilic asthma is currently one of the most well-defined asthma phenotypes and seems to have a different underlying pathobiology to classical childhood-onset, allergic asthma. Patients with this phenotype can be identified in the clinic by typical symptoms (few allergies and dyspnoea on exertion), typical lung function abnormalities (“fixed” airflow obstruction, reduced forced vital capacity and increased residual volume), typical comorbidities (nasal polyposis) and a good response to systemic corticosteroids. The definitive diagnosis is based on evidence of eosinophilia in bronchial biopsies or induced sputum, which can be estimated with reasonable accuracy by eosinophilia in peripheral blood. Until recently, patients with eosinophilic asthma had a very poor quality of life and many suffered from frequent severe exacerbations or were dependent on oral corticosteroids. Now, for the first time, novel biologicals targeting the eosinophil have become available that have been shown to be able to provide full control of this type of refractory asthma, and to become a safe and efficacious substitute for oral corticosteroids.
Late-onset eosinophilic asthma has a distinct clinical and functional profile with treatment implications http://ow.ly/MH7AH